Movie review: 'Ice Age: Collision Course,' fine (but not-so-fresh) fifth installment fetches some laughs

Parents need to know that "Ice Age: Collision Course" is the fifth installment in the popular prehistoric-themed "Ice Age" franchise. It's not necessary for viewers to have seen all of the former films to understand the plot line, but it does help. The violence/peril is less intense than in previous installments but does feature serious natural catastrophes - like a fiery asteroid headed for Earth (and destructive meteors) - as well as egg-stealing birds bent on destruction. You can also expect a little bit of insult language ("turd," "stupid"), as well as mildly suggestive comments about "parts retracting" and hotness. The coupled-off characters also embrace or kiss very briefly. As always, the messages revolve around teamwork and the unconditional love/acceptance of the right "herd."


Game review: Simple, addictive puzzler is a fantastic pick for kids

Parents need to know that "BoxBoxBoy!" is a downloadable single-player puzzle game for the Nintendo 3DS. The game is a sequel to the 2015 surprise 3DS hit, "BoxBoy!" Players control an animated box through a variety of hazard-filled stages, trying to get safely from Point A to Point B. The game is designed as an all-ages game, and has no issues with language, sexual content, or other offensive content. The game is easy to pick up and play, with difficulty coming from thinking up solutions to progress through the increasingly complex stages.


App review: Chameleon Run, super fun and challenging platformer, winning pick for kids

Parents need to know that Chameleon Run is a combination of a platformer, the game show Wipe Out, and the app Color Switch. Players control a little robot-like block figure as it moves along an obstacle course of colored, beam-style platforms, jumping and changing the figure's color to match where it will land. It's not for all kids since the pace is so fast and finishing levels can be really tricky. There are no ads and no in-app purchases, but there's also no parent gate on the More Games tab and kids can use the "face cam" to record themselves playing and presumably share the video, though that feature wasn't working during the review period. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the information collected and shared.


6 Apps that will help you keep track of your kid online

As kids become more independent, we want to foster their sense of responsibility and give them room to prove themselves. But it can be difficult to navigate this natural separation, especially when kids are doing who-knows-what on their devices. There are constant questions: Where are they? Who's contacting them? What are they doing online? Since tweens and teens are often tight-lipped about their lives, it can be tricky to get clear answers.


Host a 'Capes for Kids!' party

Something magical happens when a child puts on a superhero cape. As soon as it's tied on, he has a new source of power and nothing can stop him. That's why this summer, FamilyFun is teaming up with Access Hollywood's Kit Hoover and two venerable volunteer organizations, Enchanted Makeovers and GenerationOn, to encourage families like yours to make and donate capes to kids who enter homeless shelters.


Parents @ Play: Fun without an agenda

Looking for some good, old-fashioned toys to play with that don't claim to build STEM skills, expand your brain, or anything else? If so, you'll want to check out these new items that offer, gasp, nothing but fun. And that's just fine.


Young, black and living with discrimination

At the start of each school year, many teachers have a tradition of going around the classroom asking students about their summer experiences. Tony Wright, a rising freshman at Hampton University, remembers one year when one of his teachers also asking students about the books they'd read.


Voices: Guys need to calm down about 'Ghostbusters'

Ever since a remake of "Ghostbusters" starring four women was announced, it has been preemptively hated and bashed without end. Never mind that it was coming from a great comedy director and great female comedians - apparently there was absolutely no way this movie could be any good.


Puppy rescue by City of Merced Fire Department

Truck 51 of the City of Merced Fire Department found and rescued a puppy that fell two floors down in an HVAC system on Wednesday, July 20, 2016.
City of Merced Fire Department
Puppy rescue by City of Merced Fire Department 1:42

Puppy rescue by City of Merced Fire Department

Merced migrant students wrap up summer program 1:34

Merced migrant students wrap up summer program

School Stories: Student, community collaboration on display in Merced 1:45

School Stories: Student, community collaboration on display in Merced

Pokemon Go players take ownership of parks 0:58

Pokemon Go players take ownership of parks